Democrats are spineless. They’re running from their accomplishments and allowing them to be redefined by Fox “news,” other right-wing pundits, and Republicans. I vote for them because their policies are better for America (something conservatives never consider), but I’ll be damned if I donate to their campaigns. Some of their commercials make me want to vote for Republicans, but I don’t because I vote policy — not personality.
President Barack Obama, once again showing his hatred for veterans, started a solar energy job training program that may lead to jobs for thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. As a result, those patriots will be forced to spend some eight hours a day, working in some office at a computer or perhaps in a factory. It just shows how much Obama hates our military veterans.
Solar energy is shattering records in the United States. Since President Obama took office, installed solar power has increased 13-fold, topping nearly 16 gigawatts today – enough to power the equivalent of 3.2 million average American homes. As solar energy continues to grow, it is becoming a major source of high-paying American jobs – employing nearly 143,000 full-time professionals last year.
President Obama found himself in an unusual situation Monday.
As he was casting his ballot early in Chicago, minding his own business behind the voting booth, a young man walked by and warned him “don’t touch my girlfriend.”
The girlfriend, Aia Cooper, who was voting in the booth next to Obama, was humiliated, to say the least. “I really wasn’t planning on it,” Obama joked with the woman. “There’s an example of a brother just embarrassing you, just for no reason whatsoever.”
“And now you’ll be going back home and talking to you friends; what’s his name?” the president asked.
“Mike,” Cooper said.
“‘I can’t believe Mike. He’s such a fool,’” Obama said, impersonating the woman.
“He really is,” she agreed.
Obama continued: “‘I was just mortified. But, fortunately, the president was nice about it. So it’s all right.’”
“I am freaking out right now,” she said, laughing.
The president got the last laugh, though.
“Give me a kiss and give him something to talk about,” the president said, as he gave Cooper a hug and a peck on the cheek. “Now he’s really jealous.”
But Cooper downplayed the moment.
“He gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Just the cheek,” she told ABC’s Chicago station WLS. “Please, Michelle, don’t come after me!”
Obama needs to learn how to frame his comments a little better to penetrate America’s “bumper sticker” mentality. There are two central issues facing our country right now: high unemployment and high deficits.
The Republican “solution” is to fire government workers, allow businesses to pollute our environment, and allow banks to gamble with our money. And then when disaster ensues, they just blame it on the Democrats! Yeah, that’s good for our country!
Obama outlined his plan, which includes higher taxes on the highest incomes, which would help balance the budget and have little (if any) negative effect on the economy. Our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and this is the ideal time to put people to work repairing it. We need huge cuts in military spending. The war on terror isn’t fought effectively with bombs; it’s fought with intelligence, which only requires a small fraction of the money required for traditional wars. We also need to repeal the Republican deregulation that caused the near total collapse of our economy, which means restoring Glass-Steagall.
If his SOTU speech was truly a political speech (as right-wing pundits claim), he would have called out Republicans on all the damage they’ve inflicted on our country. Republican deregulation resulted in the near total collapse of our economy. They allowed us to be attacked in 2001 and responded by invading and occupying two countries at a cost of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. It took intelligence to finally get Bin-Laden — not wars. Republican tax cuts (the Republican stimulus) did little to create jobs but more than doubled the national debt. Obama’s Stimulus was 1/3 tax cuts, so why all the whining about spending?
Obama made a great speech this evening about American values. If you didn’t see it, you can watch it here:
He talked about American values and how we used to be a country where if you worked hard and were honest, you could make a good life for yourself and your family. Those days are gone. Now we’re a country that rewards reckless behavior and it’s every man for himself. The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 benefited the wealthiest and put us deep in debt while the rest of the country stagnated. The deregulation and lack of enforcement of existing regulations led to the near total collapse of our economy. And Republicans are fighting tooth-and-nail for any new taxes to help balance the budget and for regulation to prevent another catastrophe. Republicans and right-wingers want to destroy our democracy, which will destroy our country. We’re well on the way towards fascism and so are several other countries as a result of the worldwide economic recession. Right-wingers lie to defend their party just as they did back in 1930s Germany. Time will tell if the result will be the same.
President Barack Obama signaled on Friday that he is ready to take over the debt-limit negotiations, summoning Senate leaders to the White House next week as the continuing impasse pushes the country closer to a potential default.
Obama will meet separately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday. The meetings follow the collapse Thursday of talks between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders. Read more…
President Obama declared Wednesday that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, setting in motion an aggressive timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in an acknowledgement of the shifting threat in the region and fast-changing political and economic landscape in a war-weary America.
Asserting that the country that served as a launching pad for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks no longer represented a terrorist threat to the United States, Mr. Obama, in remarks prepared for delivery at 8 p.m. from the East Room of the White House, announced plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The remaining 20,000 troops from the 2009 “surge” of forces would leave by next summer, amounting to about a third of the 100,000 troops now in the country. Read more…
In an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Boehner conceded that Congress will need to eventually raise the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.29 trillion. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wrote in a letter to Congress earlier this month that the nation will reach its debt limit on May 16, but can rely on “extraordinary measures” to prevent from defaulting on its loans until August. Geithner wrote that default by the U.S. “would have a catastrophic economic impact that would be felt by every American,” and other economists have said that failing to raise the debt ceiling would have a disastrous effect on the markets.
Despite these warnings, many members of Congress have said that they will not vote for a bill that raises the debt ceiling unless it is paired with other efforts to get the nation’s deficit under control, such as major spending cuts or changes to entitlement programs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated on Sunday that he sees the pending debt limit deadline as a “great opportunity” to talk about spending.
McConnell has said he will vote against any debt-limit deal if it does not include long-term cuts to entitlment programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
“Rather than thinking of this as a crisis, I think of this as an opportunity to come together,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that he would not support tax increases as part of the deal.
Boehner has also ruled out tax increases as part of a deal for grappling with the long-term deficit, despite appeals by Democrats to use revenue-increasing measures to avoid some program cuts.
Let’s see who gets the shaft this time. Cutting Medicare benefits would be political suicide for the Republicans since the vast majority of Americans like that program. Remember the Teabaggers screaming “KEEP THE GOVERNMENT’S HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE!!!”? And Obama isn’t going to sign any bill that cuts Medicaid.
So who will win this time? Chances are, it won’t be the American people.
Because Republicans and right-wing sheep defeated any meaningful health insurance reform, we’re paying higher and higher premiums. Obama can be considered complicit for not fighting for the American people. The Democrats should have fought hard for a public option for health insurance. That would have given us another option. Those who like to pay high premiums for private health insurance administration could continue to do so. Those of us who don’t believe insurance companies add much value and should be run as non-profits would have an alternative. But, because of the overly emotional right-wingers and the Republicans bought and paid for by insurance corporations, we don’t have any choice but to pay through the nose.
What would happen if we had a government option? People would have more money to spend on other things, which would stimulate the economy. More people would be able to afford insurance, which would increase demand for health care, which would increase demand for health care workers, which would stimulate the economy. People would be more inclined to seek out preventive care, which would cut down on emergency room visits. Our tax dollars pay for these people to use the emergency rooms and pay for their care when they don’t have insurance. If they did have insurance, it would save us money.
The overly emotional right-wingers just don’t like the idea of government providing services. To them, if you can’t make a profit from it, it isn’t worth doing. Unless, of course, it involves THEIR Social Security or Medicare. Then it’s “hands off!”
So this is what we’re dealing with, now that conservatives have gotten their way:
Health Insurers Making Record Profits as Many Postpone Care
The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.
The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. In reporting its earnings last week, Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use.
Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care.
Significant increases in how much people have to pay for their medical care may prevent a solid rebound. In recent years, many employers have sharply reduced benefits, while raising deductibles and co-payments so people have to reach deeper into their pockets.
In 2010, about 10 percent of people covered by their employer had a deductible of at least $2,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group, compared with just 5 percent of covered workers in 2008.
High deductibles also can be daunting. David Welch, a nurse in California whose policy has a $4,000 deductible, said he was surprised to realize he had delayed going to the dermatologist, even though he had a history of skin cancer. Mr. Welch, who has been a supporter of the need to overhaul insurance industry practices for the California Nurses Association union, said he hoped his medical training would help him determine when to go to the doctor. “I underestimated how much that cost would affect my behavior,” he said.
Because they say they expect costs to rebound, insurers have not been shy about asking for higher rates. In Oregon, for example, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit insurer that is the state’s largest, is asking for a 22 percent increase for policies sold to individuals. In California, regulators have been resisting requests from insurers to raise rates by double digits.
BlueCross passes itself off as a non-profit while paying its CEOs over 10 million dollars a year, as do many insurance companies. Medicare operates at about a 4% overhead with no multi-million dollar salaries for people whose objective is to figure out ways to deny coverage. Profit is the reason private insurance companies are in business and denying coverage increases profits.
Major Test For Obama’s Backbone: Elizabeth Warren As Head of the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Elizabeth Warren was one of the few who forecasted the disaster that would result from the late 90s deregulation. Geithner and Greenspan were violently apposed to her dissenting views. It turned out, they were wrong and she was right.
Now Geithner is blocking her appointment to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and lying about it. Here is Simon Johnson’s take on it:
It’s one thing to block Elizabeth Warren from heading the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
It’s quite another thing to deny in public, for the record, that any such blocking is going on (e.g., see this report; Michael Barr apparently said something quite similar today).
There is a strong groundswell of opinion on this issue from the left – see the BoldProgressives petition. But the center also feels strongly that, given everything Treasury has said and done over the past few months, it would be a complete travesty not to put the strongest possible regulator in change of protecting consumers. (See Ted Kaufman on the NYT’s DealBook, giving appropriate credit to the SEC, and apply the same points to broader customer issues going forward.)
This can now go only one of two ways.
1. Elizabeth Warren gets the job. Bridges are mended and the White House regains some political capital. Secretary Geithner is weakened slightly but he’ll recover.
2. Someone else gets the job, despite Treasury’s claims that Elizabeth Warren was not blocked. The deception in this scenario would be nauseating – and completely blatant. “Everyone was considered on their merits” and “the best candidate won” will convince who exactly?
Despite the growing public reaction, outcome #2 is the most likely and the White House needs to understand this, plain and clear – there will be complete and utter revulsion at its handling of financial regulatory reform both on this specific issue and much more broadly. The administration’s position in this area is already weak, its achievements remain minimal, its speaking points are lame, and the patience of even well-inclined people is wearing thin.
Failing to appoint Elizabeth Warren would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It will go down in the history books as a turning point – downwards – for this administration.
Here’s a video of Warren grilling Geithner
Just thought I’d repost my “differences” blog entry… 🙂
A liberal is willing to fight for liberty.
A conservative is willing to give up liberty for security.
If a liberal doesn’t believe that abortion is morally acceptable, she doesn’t have one.
If a conservative doesn’t believe that abortion is morally acceptable, he or she wants to prevent anyone from having one.
When a liberal asks where he gets his news, he’ll give legitimate sources such as the N.Y. Times or Washington Post.
When a conservative asks where he gets his news, he won’t usually answer because it’s not from legitimate news sources.
A liberal sees wrong and tries to right it.
A conservative sees wrong and if it involves another conservative, he claims it’s biased.
A liberal believes most foreign policy issues are best dealt with by taking diplomatic measures.
A conservative believes we should bomb first and ask questions later.
A liberal doesn’t mind his hard earned money going to legitimate government programs.
A conservative hates all things government, but doesn’t mind his hard earned money going towards multi-million dollar bonuses for CEOs.
When a liberal thinks about education, he thinks about college.
When a conservative thinks about education, he thinks about grade school and high school.
A liberal knows that a fact is information that is verifiable.
A conservative thinks a fact is something you can link to. It might be just somebody’s opinion, but if you can link to it, he believes it’s acceptable to use it as a “fact.”
A liberal debates with facts.
A conservative debates by insulting the other person.
A liberal evaluates information and forms an opinion.
A conservative gets his opinions from right-wing pundits.
A liberal debates by siting events that have occurred.
A conservative debates by predicting events he believes will occur.
A liberal debates using facts.
A conservative debates the facts.
With all the fear mongering about socialism these days, the privatization of public entities almost always leads to corruption, lower paying jobs, and poor quality.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Nine people were indicted Wednesday on federal charges of accessing President Barack Obama’s student loan records while they were employed for a Department of Education contractor in Iowa.
The U.S. attorney’s office said a grand jury returned the indictments in U.S. District Court in Davenport.
All nine are charged with exceeding authorized computer access. They are accused of gaining access to a computer at a Coralville office where they worked between July 2007 and March 2009, and accessing Obama’s student loan records while he was either a candidate for president, president-elect or president.
While right-wingers won’t have a problem with this since the actions of those accused were to help Republicans, and anything goes when it comes to helping Republicans, if the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be outraged.
President Barack Obama is reviewing several candidates to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
“I’d like to nominate a moderate, but to balance the court, I think we need to get the left-wing equivalent of Scalia and Roberts in there,” Obama told reporters. “Someone that radical may be hard to find, though.”
Obama’s short list is said to include William Ayers, Ward Churchill, Louis Farrakhan, and Noam Chomsky.
Senator Lamar Alaxander (R-TN) suggested in a statement today that he might filibuster any candidate who is not Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, or Newt Gingrich.
“We need a Justice who represents the will of the real Americans,” Alaxander stated, “not some elitist who uses facts and logic in their reasoning.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulus, implied president Bush was not much of a thinker.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve now met with President Obama many times. At least 15 meetings and phone calls.
MEDVEDEV: Sixteen times.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sixteen. Okay, I knew it was 15. I wasn’t sure about the 16. What do you make of Barack Obama the man?
MEDVEDEV: He’s very comfortable partner, it’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people – I won’t name anyone by name – he’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)
MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don’t want to mention anyone by name, but his initials are “GEORGE W. BUSH! George Bush is so stupid, he once tripped over a wireless phone! George Bush is so dumb, he got fired from his job at the M&M factory for throwing out all the ‘W’s! George Bush is so dumb, he once put money in the parking meter and waited for a gumball to come out! Wait, I’m not finished… (laughs out loud) Bush is so stupid, his geometry test said “Find x”, and he circled it and said “there it is!” Bush is so dumb, he stares at an orange juice carton every morning for an hour because it says “concentrate!”
(At this point in the interview, Medvedev rolled on the floor, laughing his ass off.)
MEDVEDEV: Ah, sorry… But seriously, Barack Obama is eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply emerged in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he’s talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn’t well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he’s simply a very pleasant man with whom it’s a pleasure to deal with.